Prague/Brno, July 3 (CTK) – Justice Minister Tatana Mala (ANO) has nothing to do in the Czech government because she based her education on copying the work of others, Civic Democrat right-wing opposition ODS) deputy head Martin Kupka said today, referring to the suspected plagiarism in her thesis.
Kupka said Mala makes the new government of Andrej Babis (ANO) untrustworthy even before the government managed to ask the lower house of parliament for its confidence.
If Mala does not leave the cabinet on her own, Babis should bear the responsibility for the situation, Kupka said.
Czech media reported last week that experts revealed that she copied part of her thesis from a source she did not quote. Mala graduated in law at the private Pan-European University in Bratislava.
This week, the media wrote that Mala copied parts of her other thesis which she defended at the Mendel University in Brno in 2005.
“We hear from public sources that the new justice minister copied even her first thesis. Somebody who based her education on copying the work of others has no place in the government. Our words that Tatana Mala fails to meet the basic requirements to be justice minister,” Kupka said.
Mendel University spokeswoman Jirina Studenkova told CTK that Mala’s thesis would not pass through the system detecting plagiarism now.
In reaction, Mala told CTK that she spend a lot of time working on her thesis and that she can defend her anytime.
Mendel University Rector Danuse Nerudova told Novinky.cz news server that Mala on microclimatic conditions in breeding rabbits apparently copied 11 pages of text from a thesis of another student, Zita Pavlisova, who wrote about a similar topic two years before she did.
Studenkova said most of the theoretical part of Mala’s thesis had been copied from another thesis and Mala had not mentioned this source. At present, such a thesis would have to be redone, she said.
Studenkova said it was very hard or even impossible to reveal plagiarism in 2005 because theses were not available in digitised form.
However, the Mendel University insists on its stance that Mala’s thesis met the requirements. “Despite discrepancies in quotations and theoretic bases, we consider the results of the thesis to be original because it presents new findings,” Studenkova said.
Nerudova said the thesis would be considered plagiarism nowadays, but this term plagiarism had not been used in some time ago
In a press release, Mala said she was surprised that journalists dealt with a thesis which she wrote 13 years ago.
“However, it is no problem for me to defend it, same as I will do in case of the steps I take and the decisions I make as minister. I repeatedly say that I worked hard on my thesis and spent a long time working on it,” Mala said.
She said her conscience is clear in this respect.
Christian Democrat (opposition KDU-CSL) MEP Tomas Zdechovsky today said Mala should not have been appointed to be cabinet.